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CDC calls Whitewater Center filtration ‘inadequate’ after death of rafter

Rafters make their way through the course at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in May.
Rafters make their way through the course at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in May. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Dr. Jennifer Cope from the CDC said Thursday that chlorination and UV filtration systems at the U.S. National Whitewater Center were inadequate to properly filter the facility’s turbid waters.

Cope also said that results of all 11 water samples detected the presence of an amoeba that infected and killed an Ohio teenager on June 19 who had previously rafted at the center.

She called the results ‘significant’ and at levels the CDC had not previously seen before.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had preliminarily confirmed the presence at the park of an amoeba.

The center shut down rafting on its whitewater channels but continues other activities.

The Whitewater Center says on its website that it will drain water from the channels to dry them, clean all concrete and rock in the channels and test both its wells and city water supply for the amoeba.

​It will work with the CDC, health officials and other professionals to ​decide on the best, additional water quality measures​ to minimize​ amoeba​ risks​. The center said it does not expect to eliminate the amoeba risk.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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